US FINANCIAL MARKET
- U.S. stocks fell modestly at the open on Thursday, with investors cautious with indexes near record levels as they digested recent comments from the Federal Reserve.
- Facebook reported strong growth in its mobile advertising business late on Wednesday, though it said it didn’t plan to boost the frequency of ads shown to users. Trading was volatile, with shares soaring during the premarket session but then turning sharply negative. Facebook’s shares soared as much as 15 % in extended trading on Wednesday before suddenly falling to $47.40, down 3 % from their $49.10 close. More than a dozen brokerages increased their price targets on Facebook shares on Thursday. Facebook’s total revenue in the third quarter was $2.016 billion, ahead of the average analyst expectation of $1.911 billion. Revenue from mobile ads, which appear on smartphones, represented 49 % of Facebook’s total advertising revenue in the third quarter, or roughly $880 million.
- Visa reported a 28 % fall in quarterly profit due to a higher income tax provision and was slightly pessimistic about its outlook in the face of soft U.S. consumer spending. Net income attributable to Visa fell to $1.19 billion from $1.66 billion a year earlier. Total operating revenue rose 9 % to $2.97 billion, short of analysts’ expectation of $3.02 billion due to a strong U.S. dollar. Visa’s payment volumes rose 13 % to $1.1 trillion in the quarter. Concurrently, the board sanctioned a new share repurchase program worth $5.0 billion. Including $251 million from the current set authorized in Jul 2013, Visa now has $5.25 billion of shares available for repurchases.
- MasterCard reported a 14 % rise in quarterly profit as more people used cards to make payments. Net income rose to $879 million in the third quarter from $772 million a year earlier. Net revenue rose 16 % to $2.22 billion.
- Starbucks fell 1.7 % to $79.44 in the wake of a disappointing outlook.
- Time Warner Cable cut its full-year revenue growth forecast after losing more video customers than analysts had expected from a month-long blackout of No. 1 U.S. broadcaster CBS. Revenue rose about 3 % to $5.52 billion. The company earned $1.69 per share. Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.65 per share on revenue of $5.54 billion
- New York Times reported higher third-quarter revenue on Thursday after more readers paid for its flagship newspaper and its digital products. Total revenue was up almost 2 % to $361.7 million but fell short of analysts’ average forecast of $417.3 million.
- Expedia jumped 18 % to $59.98 a day after reporting third-quarter earnings that beat expectations.
- Avon Products posted weaker-than-expected quarterly results. Shares dropped 15.1 % to $19 in premarket trading. Revenue fell 7 % to $2.26 billion while Wall Street analysts expected $2.44 billion.
- Clorox came up with higher-than-expected earnings for first-quarter fiscal 2014.
- Allstate, the largest publicly traded home and auto insurer in the United States, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly operating profit as fewer natural disasters helped it earn more premiums. Total property-liability insurance premiums rose 4 % to $6.97 billion.
- French oil company Total reported a drop in profits due to narrow refining margins in Europe and a heftier exploration bill on Thursday. Revenue dropped 6 % from the same period a year ago to 46.7 billion euros. Analysts on average expected revenue of 43.8 billion euros.
- ConocoPhillips expects about $8.9 billion in proceeds from the sale of assets in Kazakhstan, Algeria and Nigeria and reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit due to higher oil and gas prices. Net income rose to $2.5 billion in the third quarter from $1.8 billion a year earlier.
- Sony cut its full-year profit targets after slipping to a quarterly net loss as its recovering TV operation relapsed into the red.
- McDonald’s and Kraft Foods plan in 2014 to test sales of McCafe-branded packaged coffees at grocery stores and other retail locations in multiple U.S. markets.
- Wal-Mart will announce “three new manufacturing commitments for U.S. made products” at a conference in Washington D.C. on Thursday, the company said.
- The average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.10% in the week that ended Oct. 31, hitting the lowest level since June.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000.
- Business activity expanded in October at the fastest pace since March 2011 as orders and production surged. The MNI Chicago Report business barometer jumped to 65.9 from 55.7 in September.
EUROPE & WORLD
- The Bank of Japan stopped short of officially forecasting it could raise inflation to 2 % in two years after a review, but said it was on track to reach its target and would maintain its massive stimulus as long as needed.
- Japan’s salaries extended the longest slide since 2010, even as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urges companies to raise workers’ wages as part of his bid to reflate the world’s third-largest economy. Regular wages excluding overtime and bonuses fell 0.3 % in September from a year earlier.
- Euro-area inflation cooled to the slowest in almost four years in October, moving further away from the European Central Bank’s goal. The annual rate fell to 0.7 %, the lowest since November 2009, from 1.1 % in September.
- U.K. mortgage approvals rose to the highest in 5 1/2 years in September.
- Italy’s jobless rate rose more than forecast in September to an all-time high as companies failed to hire amid concerns about the persisting recession, the longest since World War II. Unemployment is at 12.5 %.
- Taiwan’s economy grew at the slowest pace in a year in the third quarter. GDP rose 1.58 % from a year earlier.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace church, marking the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany (1517)
- Nevada became the 36th state (1864)
- Rear Admiral G. J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole (1956)
- Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated (1984)
- Pope John Paul II admitted that the Roman Catholic Church had erred in convicting Galileo of heresy 350 years earlier (1992)
Sources: Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, Bloomberg, CNN Money.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.